Shetland, Vietnam Interrupted and Inland

Title: Shetland

Genre: Non-verbal travel documentary

Running time:12 minutes

Format: 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio; colour; stereo soundtrack

Tagline: Experience the moody and often fog-shrouded Shetland Islands

Synopsis:

An observational documentary revealing the moody and often fog-shrouded landscapes comprising the Shetland Islands. 

There’s roughly 100 islands in the Shetland group; they’re situated roughly 170km northeast of Scotland and about 300km west of Norway.  Only 16 of the islands are inhabited, but all of them share ruggedly beautiful scenery: green rolling hills often end abruptly at jagged cliffs that scare you with their height when they suddenly appear out of nowhere through the dense, rolling fog.

Since the Shetlands are influenced by fierce weather generated by both the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, the islands are constantly wind-swept, and the resulting unsettled weather seems to underpin the gritty, steadfast personality of the Shetland Islanders themselves.  And although technically part of Scotland, the islanders have their own dialect and generally consider themselves apart.

For those familiar with the BBC crime series “Shetland”, you’ll see a number of places frequently depicted in the television series including the home of Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez in Lerwick, the stunning sea cliffs at Esherness and the sandy tombolo linking the main Shetland island to St. Ninian’s Isle, where a fantastic treasure trove was discovered under a stone slab in 1958.

Title: Vietnam interrupted

Genre: Non-verbal ethnographic and travel documentary

Running time:40 minutes

Format: 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio; colour; stereo soundtrack

Tagline: Encounter the overwhelmingly friendly people of Vietnam

Synopsis:

A non-verbal observational ethnographic and travel documentary showcasing the overwhelmingly friendly people of Vietnam.

We commenced a month-long journey through Vietnam in early February 2020, before COVID-19 got out of hand and well before the pandemic was declared.

We arrived in Hanoi after 2½ weeks on the road, and overnight, our hotel was placed into lockdown by the local health authorities after two British tourists, who had stayed in the hotel the day before, tested positive.  These tourists had previously visited our next two destinations, and so those provinces were also in lockdown.  This brought our trip to Vietnam to an abrupt end. This film is what we saw up to that point, having spent a busy time in bustling Saigon with its 20 million inhabitants and 14 million motor bikes; in Dalat, Vietnam’s market garden and where the colonial French went to escape the coastal heat and humidity; in picturesque Hoi An with its yellow painted buildings and 400 tailors; and in the old imperial capital of Hue, with its fortified citadel and the royal tombs of Vietnamese emperors.

Title: Inland

Genre: Travel documentary and personal reflection with narration

Running time:40 minutes

Format: 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio; colour; stereo soundtrack

Tagline: What does the Inland mean to me?

Synopsis:

At primary school in the 1960s, film maker Arnold Kopff was engendered with the idea that a “True Australian” was one who was prepared to battle against all odds.  And that, in addition to the ANZACs and other famous national heroes, True Australians included those that chose to live and work in the inland.  This film is about Arnold’s quest to understand the mystique of the inland and its ability to entice us away from our coastal comfort zone.   

Arnold’s quest takes him to Carnarvon Gorge and the Queensland Sandstone Belt, the gem fields surrounding the town of Emerald, Queensland’s Capricorn Coast, Girraween National Park and the Queensland Granite Belt, the Maranoa, Bunya Mountains National Park and other inland localities.  Arnold’s film acknowledges the travails of the colonial explorers and early settlers while at the same time recognising the ill treatment of the First Australians, who, despite colonialism, were able to sustain their culture without the need to possess the land.

This film is Arnold’s search for what it means to be Australian, and to understand the affect that the inland has on him. 

About the Presenter:

When Arnold left school in the early 1970’s he really wanted to be a cinematographer, but this didn’t happen.  Instead, he established his own software engineering business.  Arnold had cultivated technical and artistic interests in cinematography and editing since his mid-teens, so when he sold his software company in 2008, he decided to become a film maker.  As well as creating his own observational travel and ethnographic documentaries, Arnold was a founder and the president of the Eumundi World Cinema film society.  Arnold was also one of the founders and the festival curator for the Noosa International Film Festival in 2016 and 2017, and technical consultant for the festival in 2018.  Arnold has won an international prize for his cinematography and his films have been televised in Shanghai, Charlotte and San Francisco.

Posted in Friday Talks.